John Philip Murray




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Stated and Refuted

Oil on cotton 76x61cm. 2007

The preliminary drawing for this piece contained the words: "The case for war eloquently stated and refuted". These words described a situation where politicians express their objective to indulge in an adventure. Their words are chosen to try to persuade the wavering ones and justify their own "actions to be". Political 'Doves' express their opposing view, equally eloquently, but the warlike ones go ahead anyway. - It was ever thus; wars are waged by leaders who can only do so because they persuade many others to submit to their will. My painting depicts two heads, centrally located, one above the other. Both have flat calm expressions with closed eyes, they are (tonally) lighter than their surroundings. Beside their faces the green and Prussian blue panels create an atmosphere of coolness and calm. We can assume that they have already spoken their minds to their listeners. Which one of them, if any, is honest and good and means well? Because presentation is so controlled nowadays, it is increasingly difficult to believe what we hear, or indeed, to understand the meaning of what we hear.